Beatrice (Bea) Arthur, known best as tall, deep husky-voiced and witty characters Maude, by the 70s sitcom of the same name, and Dorothy Zbornak on the 80s sitcom The Golden Girls, sadly passed away this weekend of cancer at the age of 86. She will be missed.
Arthur was an accomplished actress, comedienne and singer. She won Emmys for both Maude and The Golden Girls, and a Tony Award for her work in the Broadway musical Mame.
One of her last, most recent appearances was on Comedy Central’s Roast of Pamela Anderson, whom she shared a passion as an animal rights activist and was a devoted PETA member with. Arthur, in a dry, deadpan voice, read excerpts from Anderson’s book, Star: The Novel, which proved to be most memorable. She rawly read, ‘(Star asked), How do you fuck up the ass?’ and continued with the answer described in the text. She finished by saying, ‘Pam, you’ve opened up a whole new world to me,’ showing her no holds barred attitude, which had the crowd (and myself) rolling.
I love catching reruns of The Golden Girls on the Hallmark Channel; it brings back memories of watching it as a young girl, singing ‘Thank you for beiiiinnn a frieeend, travel down the road and back again!‘ while my grandmother and I both watched. Though all the characters had lovable quirks, such as the ditsy Rose Nyland and sex-crazed Blanche Devereaux, nothing could match the sharp-tongued repartee between mother-and-daughter Sophia Petrillo and Dorothy Zbornak, played by Arthur. The chemistry between the two playing out their characters in their Miami home was classic.
Farewell to a first-class lady, a hilariously raw and raunchy comedienne, and top-notch entertainer. –Regina